Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

The Genomic Revolution and Beliefs about Essential Racial Differences: A Backdoor to Eugenics?

Jo C. Phelan, Bruce G. Link and Naumi M. Feldman
American Sociological Review
Vol. 78, No. 2 (April 2013), pp. 167-191
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23469170
Page Count: 25
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Preview not available
Preview not available

Abstract

Could the explosion of genetic research in recent decades affect our conceptions of race? In Backdoor to Eugenics, Duster argues that reports of specific racial differences in genetic bases of disease, in part because they are presented as objective facts whose social implications are not readily apparent, may heighten public belief in more pervasive racial differences. We tested this hypothesis with a multi-method study. A content analysis showed that news articles discussing racial differences in genetic bases of disease increased significantly between 1985 and 2008 and were significantly less likely than non—health-related articles about race and genetics to discuss social implications. A survey experiment conducted with a nationally representative sample of 559 adults found that a news-story vignette reporting a specific racial difference in genetic risk for heart attacks (the Backdoor Vignette) produced significantly greater belief in essential racial differences than did a vignette portraying race as a social construction or a no-vignette condition. The Backdoor Vignette produced beliefs in essential racial differences that were virtually identical to those produced by a vignette portraying race as a genetic reality. These results suggest that an unintended consequence of the genomic revolution may be the reinvigoration of age-old beliefs in essential racial differences.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[167]
    [167]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
168
    168
  • Thumbnail: Page 
169
    169
  • Thumbnail: Page 
170
    170
  • Thumbnail: Page 
171
    171
  • Thumbnail: Page 
172
    172
  • Thumbnail: Page 
173
    173
  • Thumbnail: Page 
174
    174
  • Thumbnail: Page 
175
    175
  • Thumbnail: Page 
176
    176
  • Thumbnail: Page 
177
    177
  • Thumbnail: Page 
178
    178
  • Thumbnail: Page 
179
    179
  • Thumbnail: Page 
180
    180
  • Thumbnail: Page 
181
    181
  • Thumbnail: Page 
182
    182
  • Thumbnail: Page 
183
    183
  • Thumbnail: Page 
184
    184
  • Thumbnail: Page 
185
    185
  • Thumbnail: Page 
186
    186
  • Thumbnail: Page 
187
    187
  • Thumbnail: Page 
188
    188
  • Thumbnail: Page 
189
    189
  • Thumbnail: Page 
190
    190
  • Thumbnail: Page 
191
    191